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[TBT] President Obama’s Question: To Kill or Not to Kill?

February 18, 2014 Leave a comment
All this past week, the President has been faced with a bit of a dilemma coming from overseas.
Full story from RT
 
There is a United States citizen (name not known to the public) in a foreign country (country not known to the public) who has been suspected of plotting terrorist attacks against the United States.  The man in question has been accused of being an Al-Qaeda facilitator.  As of now, this person is still alive (to our knowledge) and is bunkered down in a remote area. Complicating the matter is the fact that the unknown country in which the accused currently resides will not permit U.S. military forces to enter. According to the damning accusations, this person has planned multiple other terrorist attacks against the U.S. in the past. President Obama’s problem is the question of whether or not he should execute that person -by drone- or capture him and put him on trial.
 
If the Constitution was given a voice in the matter, the question would have already been answered. The clause “No person…be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;” is very clear and precise. It requires that if an individual is going to have his life taken away from him, he is to be granted due process of law to determine if such an action is justified. If the man being targeted by the Department of Justice is in fact guilty of everything he has been accused of, it should be determined in court – as opposed to a single decision by the executive branch of the federal government. Not being able to forcefully enter the country he is hiding in is not a legitimate excuse to circumvent the law.
 
Unfortunately, the current Administration has already demonstrated that it feels it has the justification to execute American citizens without trial. Sadly, if the President decides to assassinate the unknown alleged terrorist, it would have precedent. The good news is that political pressure from outside the White House over the previous murders have brought a magnifying glass over the President in his current dilemma; perhaps causing this balk by the administration.
 
 Last year’s policy standards and procedures issued from the White House included a piece that stated “If the United States considers an operation against a  terrorist identified as a US person, the Department of Justice  will conduct an additional legal analysis to ensure that such  action may be conducted against the individual consistent with  the Constitution and laws of the United States,”
 
While that is encouraging, feet must be held to the fire in order to ensure those words are adhered to. We are watching, Mr. President!
 
Ben Swann gives his take:

[Tru Blu Tuesday] Calling All (R)epublicans!

June 25, 2013 Leave a comment

I’m in a mood today, so brace yourself. That usually happens when I’m exhausted, which I definitely am right now. But not only am I tired from the grind of working two jobs and trying to have some semblance of a social life, I am down right tuckered out from inconsistent neoconservative Republicans. Honestly, the only thing that keeps me from flying off the handle is the humble reminder that I used to be one. Yes, up until I awoke a few short years ago, I was very hypocritical in my political stands. I still have much to iron out, but I’ve come a long way.

Of all the factors that led me to appreciate, follow, love Ron Paul and eventually libertarian thought, the biggest one was consistency. In naive years of toeing the party line for the Red Team, no matter what the issue, some days just left me scratching my head. Like the day I read a column in my local paper of a critic bashing the Patriot Act. Pushed by Republicans my knee jerk reaction was to fully support the Act. However, in the back of my head, something told me the writer might be on to something. I mean, should we really be giving up our Constitutional right to privacy? But I stuck with Dubya and the gang anyway. Please forgive me, I was young. Anyone who knows me now would tell you I’m the biggest anti-Patriot Act guy out there.

That is what keeps me from going bananas on neoconservatives today. Today when so many join Dick Cheney, Lindsay Graham and John McCain in upholding the treasonous actions of the NSA and condemning whistle-blower Edward Snowden, I straight up want to pull my hair out. It is horribly inconsistent with “small government”, “Constitutional” conservative philosophy.

This post by a man I’ve never met is what got me rolling on the topic:

One of the key arguments for defending the 2nd amendment is based upon the natural right of the citizen to protect himself from his own government should the need ever arise. Fair enough- I couldn’t agree more.

So why is it that so many of you are constantly calling for an infinite amount of funding for a massive, standing military force, and ever more funding for an omniscient spy apparatus in the forms of an NSA or CIA? Isn’t that just as much a self defeating blow to the second amendment as outright gun confiscation would be? What do think- that if the time comes to protect yourself from the government, you’re gonna go out there in your camo baseball caps, beer guts, & AR-15’s, and take on the most powerful, technologically advanced, highly trained crack government troops that YOU thought never had enough funding? You’re somehow gonna escape the government’s all seeing eye that will track and anticipate your every move that YOU fully supported the implementation of? if you truly believed that there may come a time to utilized your 2nd amendment rights, wouldn’t you be screaming for a dismantling of the spy agencies, and a greatly reduced military budget?

This is such a good example of my frustrations with main stream Republicans today. They scream bloody murder when the government makes a move for their guns, and rightly so, but they defend Constitutional violations by our most powerful spy agencies? And for what – safety? Hello, isn’t that what liberals claim in support of gun control? This does not compute logically for me.

And then there’s the fiscal part of it. Republicans are supposedly against big spending, always bucking the Democratic pets such as welfare or military-spendingthe Affordable Care Act. Then they turn around and infuse billions into a life-sucking military empire, the likes of which the world has never seen before? We spend about a third as much as the entire world combined, but God forbid we cut a penny from the military! Just last week our leaders stuck our hands into the Syrian conflict. This after Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Pakistan. Are we playing a game of real life Risk here?

These are the things that lead me to libertarian thinking. Follow the Constitution – not just the parts you like. That means standing in firm defense of the Second Amendment AND resisting foreign interventionism. It means protecting free speech for the pulpit AND our cell phones. It means keeping spending for welfare AND warfare under control.

I could go on, but you get the picture. If we are going to rescue this country, and all Republicans are aware of the need, we have to stick to our guns on the Constitution, and check our political party passions at the door. Libertarian types are an interesting bunch, and generally very educated on the political sphere, but we can’t do this ourselves. We need a few more Republican pals to wake up and get this ship in order.

Want to know what Ronald Reagan had to say about libertarianism?

[Tru Blu Tuesday] Our Big Bad Bully

June 11, 2013 Leave a comment

Just last week someone asked me “So what makes you angry?” I had to stop and think for a minute, because, believe it or not, I don’t get angry very easily. After giving it some thought I blurted out “Bullies.” If I can paraphrase my explanation to the inquirer: As a large person, I have always felt it is my responsibility to protect smaller and weaker people. When I see other people abusing their victims, that really gets under my skin. At the moment, I was thinking of individuals picking on other individuals. That was the context of bullying that was on my mind at the time. But when I arrived home later that day I realized my hatred of bullies stretched across a much wider spectrum.

On June 5th the story broke that the National Security Agency secretly got their hands on three months worth of Verizon customers phone NSArecords. They were able to see who called who, from where, at what time and so on. They did this to millions of people. They did this illegally, without a warrant. Yes, they butchered the Constitution en route to explicitly invading the privacy of millions. As I said before, I don’t get angry easily. When I read this piece of news, however, my blood boiled. As it turns out, bullies come in all shapes and sizes.

The story from The Atlantic

The New York Times calls out the Obama Administration

Fox News’ Judge Andrew Napolitano rages

I expected a lot of outrage from this event. I fully anticipated that an all out uproar would take place from almost all Americans. I mean, most conservatives will jump at the chance to bark at President Obama, and civil liberties is a special pet of liberals right? Why wouldn’t there be a near-unanimous calling for accountability? I guess I’ll have to keep waiting.

Instead, I saw an unhealthy lack of interest and an extra dose of apathy. I gather that the cause of this is from two dominating modes of thinking amidst the public: a) It doesn’t affect me, as I have nothing to hide and b) What does it matter anyway?

Today, I’d like to answer those questions so we can all oust the bullies together!

Why it really does affect you:

The initial reaction to this story for many is “I have nothing to hide, I don’t care if they invade my privacy. Only bad people should feel nervous about this.” This mindset ignores the inevitable reality of what such a privacy invasion, if left unchecked, will lead to. By this logic, you won’t mind the government snooping into your purchasing data, your medical records, banking records, your internet browsing history, or even your cellphone conversations. “No way!” is the natural response, I would hope. “That is too far!” you might say. Oh really? Just how do you draw that line of yours? A favorite book from my childhood reads “If you give a mouse a cookie, he is going to want some milk to go with it….” It is only to be expected that if you give the NSA your phone records, it is going to want to know everything there is to know about you, and then some.

And what happens when the Federal Government gets a hold of that information? Well if you’re a Verizon customer they already know your calling habits. They know about those late night calls to that cute guy you met at the bar last month. (You know, the one not even your husband is aware of.) They know a lot about where you spend most of your time. (Like that one secret spot you thought you had all to yourself.) If the pattern of privacy invasion continues and they get to know more about you how much information will they find out? — They’ll know about those embarrassing fungal infections you’ve been researching online. They’ll know how much -or rather, how little- you have saved up in your rainy day fund. They’ll know all the flirty one liners you use in internet chat rooms. Of course they won’t find any terrorist activity associated with you…but they’ll get everything else.

unclesambroken

Why this really matters so much:

Ok, so you still don’t care about your privacy. You wouldn’t mind if everything about you was known by some shady bureaucracy. That’s fine.

The most serious problem with what the NSA has done is that it has brazenly violated the Constitution, as a government agency, and may get away with it scott-free. (Note: The ACLU is currently pursuing a law suit against the agency.) The Fourth Amendment, in no uncertain terms, states that “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers and effects against unreasonable searches and seizures shall not be violated,”. I keep quoting that Amendment over and over it seems, but it hasn’t changed since the ink that wrote it dried on the Bill of Rights two centuries ago. We still have our right to be secure and we still are protected from unreasonable searches and seizures. The Amendment continues: “and no Warrants shall issue, except upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the places to be searched and persons or things to be seized.” Secretly gathering personal information from millions of people, without a warrant or even so much as a hint of probable cause is like taking a machete to the Constitution.

Our Constitution is the very foundation of our country. Everything about us rests on its words. We debate its content endlessly, as we should, but it remains the rock on which America builds its successes. On Memorial Day I wrote of the sacrifices made by men and women to preserve our freedom from foreign threats. The Constitution was written as the permanent guard to liberty from enemies within. Enemies that would like to abuse their power to exact control over us. So if the federal government can simply discard the rule of law, paint it as “keeping us safe”, and walk away as if they did nothing wrong, what is the point of having the Constitution in the first place? Why don’t we just let them walk all over it? Arms? Let them come and take my guns. Due process? Come put me in prison for absolutely nothing. Freedom of speech? Bind my lips so that I never utter another word. It is all a bully could hope for.

The molested principle here, is that the highest law in the land has been broken by the highest level of authority. We need to take that authority back for ourselves and put abusive government in its place: under the power of the Constitution of these united States. Then, and only then, will we have an answer for our big bad bully.

[Tru Blu Tuesday] Control the Guns!

March 12, 2013 Leave a comment

Anyone living in the U.S. these days would have to have their head buried in the sand not to have heard about all the hoopla over gun control as of late. Tragedies such as the Aurora, CO theater shooting, the Oak Creek, WI Sikh temple shooting and the atrocity at Sandy Hook Elementary, have rekindled the debate over gun control in America. CNN talk show host Piers Morgan has had everyone from Ben Shapiro to Alex Jones on his show to debate the issue. Senator Dianne Feinstein has revamped her approach at passing a more restrictive version of her infamous assault weapons ban. All in all, the debate for who has the right to own what kind of weapons is in a state of uproar, and shows no signs of quieting in the near future. With that in mind, I would like to offer my thoughts on the subject.

Of course, my thoughts have been thought of before and by much wiser men than I. Yet the concept is nevertheless very simple. The direction I approach the matter is different from that of the standard argument for gun rights. Generally, it is the Second Amendment of the Bill of Rights, that is quoted as the primary safe guard of our right to keep and bear arms. A brief review:

“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.”

Some gun rights advocates are quick to underline the shall not be infringed clause. They also aggressively circle the right of the people, and justly so. These folks are the first to draw upon the Battle of Lexington and Concord as an illustration to the early American tradition of defending one’s self from unjust power grabs by the government. Regardless, these people miss the point.

Some gun control advocates argue that the amendment was intended only for militia, or military, to be armed in defense of the people. Some say that the authors of the Bill of Rights did not foresee the amendment extending to the advancement of weapon technology past the muskets in use at the time. They would hold that if the founders could see the high-powered, deadly accurate, high volume firearms we have today they would not include the amendment at all. Whatever their reasoning, and I strongly contest the above to be false, they are missing the entire point.

Come and take it!

The simple fact of the matter is that the Second Amendment does not, in fact, grant us the right to bear firearms. The right to own and use firearms is a human right. This is to say that it is granted to us by nothing more than the virtue of being human. This goes for each one of the first ten amendments to our Constitution. All of these rights, while meticulously articulated on our behalf by the founding fathers, did not come to us because they were written there. It is extremely beneficial for us, as citizens, to have had these rights spelled out in black and white so many years ago, but these words are not the source of our liberty.

The difference is in the two schools of thought pertaining to the source of our rights. One group of people will believe that our rights are bestowed upon us by government in its various forms.  This group graciously accepts whatever the law says they have a right to and nothing more. The danger in this line of thinking is that if this is true, then the rights granted by government institutions can be taken away by government. In the other group, however, the people hold that their rights come from their mere status as a human being. You could further divide this latter group into those who believe that these human rights are God-given and those who simply declare their humanity as the cause of their freedoms, but that is an entirely different story. Again, it is this basic divide in thought, that is at the root cause of the division on the issue of gun control.

I should clarify here that individuals who commit violent crimes should and ought to be relieved of this privilege. Anyone who forcefully violates the safety of another in a clearly defined criminal context (i.e. armed robbery, sexual assault, to name a few) forfeits their right to own a weapon. In betraying the public trust they present themselves as a threat to others and should not be allowed to amplify that threat with a dangerous tool.

Herein lies the crux of the issue. Firearms are currently the best method of personal defense available to the common man. They are not going away and will be here for the foreseeable future. As long they are available, and available to good citizens as well as bad ones, we have the basic human right to own them. You cannot, in good conscience, deprive a person the ability to defend themselves. There is no logical basis for it. No government has the authority, unless mistakenly given to them by the people, to take the means of self-defense from its law-abiding citizens. Any actions taken by those in authority to limit this ability from its people, is directly violating a fundamental human right. It does not matter how the Bill of Rights is interpreted or what lawmakers determine is “enough” firepower an individual should possess. If any person, in good standing with his fellow-man, wishes to take up arms, he is granted that privilege not by the words of man’s law, but by the same laws of nature that gave him breath on the day he was born.

the ultimate authority … resides in the people alone,” – James Madison

James Madison, 4th U.S. President and the Father of the Constitution.

James Madison, 4th U.S. President and the Father of the Constitution.